We’ve all been there. Those food cravings that seem unstoppable. But there’s probably a reasonable explanation when that hankering for a large pizza comes along. From what you eat to how you sleep, you might be making these mistakes that lead to food cravings.
Food cravings are like movies that end in tragedies. Might feel good in the beginning, but you could end up in tears at the end. However, tweaking our lifestyle and altering our diet can help us curb food cravings. How? Let’s take a look.
#1 Processed Foods
Processed foods disrupt blood sugar balance and increase food cravings
Processed foods often contain chemicals and simple sugars that might disrupt blood sugar balance. The body absorbs simple sugars within 60 to 90 minutes. That is very quick when compared to whole foods as our body needs around 6 to 8 hours to digest it.
If your diet contains a lot of a lot of simple sugars, your body will reciprocate by producing more insulin and it will end up losing its effectiveness. This may result in insulin resistance and can increase food cravings. It may also lead to obesity, diabetes, mood swings and a dip in energy.
Sugar fuels the harmful bacteria present in your gut as well. It is also found that many processed foods have addictive characteristics.
#2 Not Consuming Enough Healthy Fats And Protein
Lack of proteins and healthy fats can trigger food cravings
Consuming meals rich in healthy fats and quality protein can stabilize your blood sugar levels. This can help you surpass cravings, keep you full and avoid overconsumption.
Quality protein is a must when it comes to breakfast. This maintains a healthy cortisol level, provide us energy and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Green veggies, oats, fish, eggs, organic poultry and grass-fed meat, are good sources of protein. Nuts, ghee, seeds, olive Oil, etc. are the best sources of healthy fats.
#3 Less Fiber In The Diet
Dietary fiber can assist in slowing down body’s sugar absorption. As a result, it stabilizes blood sugar and curbs food cravings. Brussel Sprouts, Avocado, Broccoli, Kale, carrots, etc. are good sources of dietary fiber.
Fiber also fuels the good bacteria in our gut and can also help in tackling constipation.
Another fiber that can assist in curbing food cravings is RS (Resistant starch). RS goes through our stomach and intestine without getting digested. It gets to the colon and finally is digested by bacteria present in our intestine.
The good thing about RS is that it majorly comprises of unusable calories and thus has no or very little effect on our blood sugar or insulin level. Thus, food cravings will be less. Brown rice. Beans, unripe bananas, and boiled potatoes are good sources of RS.
#4 Unbalanced Microbiome
A balanced microbiome or gut flora produces SCFAs (Short-chain fatty acids). The bacteria in our gut ferments fibers found in our foods into SCFAs. Acetate, propionate, and butyrate, etc. are different types of SCFAs.
SCFA’s are crucial in reducing inflammation and maintaining a healthy weight. Butyrate can help in stress resistance and support a healthy metabolism. Serotonin is another SCFA that can assist in balancing our appetite, attaining a sense of calm and quality sleep.
So, if our microbiome is unbalanced and far from healthy, it can affect our sleep, mood and hormone production adversely thus resulting in food cravings.
#5 Skipping Breakfast
Breakfast with healthy fats and quality protein keeps the cortisol level high and maintains the insulin levels low for great mornings. A good breakfast can regulate metabolism and sugar levels in your blood throughout the whole day. People who miss their breakfast crave for sugar and lesser vegetables during day time.
So what is a balanced breakfast that can keep you active and reduce cravings throughout the day? It should include the following.
• Alkalizing vegetables like leafy greens and carrots.
• Fiber rich foods like Kale, Brussel Sprouts, and Cauliflower.
• Healthy fats in moderate amounts. Examples – Eggs, avocado, and salmon
• And most importantly Quality protein. Examples – Beans, Lentils, Nuts, etc
#6 Stress And Lack Of Sleep
Stress and lack of sleep can trigger food cravings
Lack of sleep can adversely impact metabolic hormones and its production. Hormones like Cortisol, leptin, insulin and ghrelin which promotes hunger can be affected.
When the production of these hormones are disrupted, it will adversely affect our mood and blood sugar levels. This way, we might not feel satisfied and full.
Our brain needs a stable sugar flow, and sugar levels fluctuate, our body can trigger cravings. This includes foods which are high in calorie levels. Insulin resistance is another risk put forward by poor sleep and can result in cravings.
Sleep, diet, and detoxification are the areas we need to take a look at to curb stress and cravings. A guided detox every year is necessary to flush out inflammatory toxins. Find outdoor activities that are refreshing and enjoyable.
Yoga and other forms of meditation can be of great help in combating stress. Including some carbohydrates in your diet can also assist in improving your sleep and fight stress.
#7 Diet Low In Carbs
Trust me; all carbs aren’t bad. It is crucial that your diet includes plant based carbohydrates in small amounts, especially for dinner and lunch. Your blood sugar levels fluctuate when your food lacks carbs. This is what happens to your body when you skip meals or when you fast. The adrenals might produce cortisol in more quantities as a response to low sugar levels. This rise in cortisol levels can disturb your sleep and disturbed hormone production. The result ? Uncontrollable cravings.
But, this doesn’t mean that you should intake all carbs. That is not ideal. So what do you do? Look for smart choices of carbs like squash, turnips, peas, strawberries, brown rice, kiwi fruit, quinoa, etc.
As mentioned above, the secret to combating cravings are meals that are plant based, well-rounded and unrefined. But, do remember that you won’t be completely fit by just avoiding high-calorie foods. If you want to know more about being active and healthy, the fat to fit infographic is sure to help. By following these principles listed above, you can stabilize blood sugar levels and fight intense cravings. Don’t forget that following these principles can positively impact your grocery bill as well.
Katie is a fitness freak and a writer at garagegymplanner.com. According to her natural diet and regular exercise are the biggest secrets of her good health, fitness, and beauty.